FINALLY! THE FRENCH RIVIERA AND MORE TRIP REASSESMENT


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Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Nice
June 14th 2009
Published: July 2nd 2009
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Nice beaches are beautiful..... shame about the stones though! But the crystal blue waters more than make up for this. After training it into the city centre we headed straight for the lookout, Mount Boron, we managed to miss the bus by seconds from the city and the next one was in an hour, so we decided to walk it, with a finishing hike up the many stairs. But the views were more than worth it, as you can see from the photos below. We ate our packed lunch up the top, precariously perching our butts on top of quite a high wall...which to Suz’s amusement made me considerably uneasy. I think I may be developing a fear for heights in my old age. We trekked back down and headed to the Aldstadt (old town) to wander the cobbled streets, markets, and abundance of boutiques, cafes, and bars. A day of mostly drifting around the streets and beachfront in the scorching heat came to an end with a refreshing airconditioned train ride back to Jonesy.

The one thing we will always remember about Nice is the quantities of hot steaming dog turds that line the pavements! Ha Ha. Seriously though... dog s*#t everywhere! I even had to help an old man (an extremely heavy old man) back to his feet after slipping on..... yes you guessed it..... dog poo! There was s*#t, old man legs, and the contents of his straw woven basket everywhere. At first glance, Suz thought the poor old bugger had cr*#ped himself. But couldn’t blame her, I may have thought something to that affect myself, however no, it just turns out it was the conniving... moist looking ... brown (or this one may have been a yellow shade) canine faeces! So we have some great memories of the French Riviera anyway. Why is it that toilet stories have made numerous appearance in our blogs!? Ha ha.

Back on the train the next day for the 45 minute journey to Monaco, Monte Carlo. Monaco was.... well Monaco..... Home of the rich and famous, playground of the rich and famous, and unless you are indeed rich and famous all you can do is wander the streets and wish you were rich and famous whilst eyeing off the rich and famous’ yachts, cars, helipads, houses, and lifestyles. And boy what massive yachts and expensive cars they enjoy! Not unlike Nice we headed straight to Monaco’s look out, which happens to also be where the Royal Palace is situated. After catching a quick glimpse of the changing of the guard behind the hordes of tourists we again ate out packed lunch (consisting of ham sandwiches (which tend to go warm after a few hours in your bag... yuck!), a biscuit or two, some chips and a bottle of water) up the top to soak in the glorious views..... again see photos below (one of my favourite photos thus far!). After stumbling accidentally onto the set of a French film, we were detoured back down to the Monaco harbourside where we ogled the shear size of some of the “toys” parked in the marina. Some of these things are unbelievable and poor old Jonesy was seriously put to shame. Some of them even coming with their own dockside electronic doorbells and intercom! Seriously....this seems a little over the top. After dreaming what it would be like to own one of these things and deciding which lot we would park our yacht at in a few years time we headed to the casino. Ten Euro just to get in the door pretty much put a show stopper on that adventure. But it was interesting doing some rich people watching and perving on the 3 ferrari’s parked out the front (each identical but in a different shade of colour.... yellow, red, and blue). Then it was back down towards the marina and a trip to the public pool to cool off from the mid 30 degree heat. After a couple of hours working on our tans and checking out the numerous “white pointers” (seems to be a vast amount of these in Europe!!!), it was back on the train to our campsite for some much needed nutrition and rehydration (beer).

That night (Wednesday 17th June) we departed for Nimes... a solid 5 hour drive from 7pm til midnight.... and time to test Jonesy out after his operation. It went (almost) without a hitch! Jonesy now runs at a much higher temperature then he used to... although I am putting that down to possible low performance engine oil that I believe Jean may have installed. We’ll just have to wait and see how he goes!? But for now we are trying to use the mentality that “unless we breakdown or the engine bursts into flames we DRIVE ON!!”.

We reached Nimes at around 1.30am, a little late due to rest stops, fuel stops, and the vast number of road toll stops that seem to have now magically popped up all over the damn place. Starting to cost a fortune on tolls. But the way Jonesy is with back roads and hills, we thought it best to stick with the main roads and just pay the tolls. It saves us time and effort in the long run! We slept in, then headed straight for Pont Du Gard (a 2000ish year old, 250m ish remaining stretch of a Roman aquaduct, that originally spanned 25km and fed Nimes with fresh water ), which was quite the spectacle and our first introduction to Roman history on this trip. With plenty more specimens to come I’m sure!

We now look forward to driving on into Spain, where we have once again reanalysed our trip somewhat. We have decided that after the past 6 weeks of solid sightseeing we are going to bypass Ibiza, the south coast of Spain, and Portugal altogether. It is simply too far to drive in a burnt out Kombi with a top speed of 85kmph. We need some serious rest. We have also decided that rather than doing a few half ar**d days in each big city that we would do a single “perfect” day. The plan is to head in early and have a coffee and a pastry, then to sightsee all morning, buy some traditional lunch at a cafe somewhere, sight see in the arvo, sit down to a nice meal in a restaurant somewhere, then head to a bar for some evening drinks. If we miss anything sightseeing-wise on that day, we will head back into the city two days later (after a rest day in between beside the campsite pool) for just a half days sightseeing. Sounds much more enjoyable and much less effort than doing 3 half ar**d days in a single city where we have to carry around our own packed lunch then eat it hot straight from our backpacks right!?

So with another refreshing outlook on our European adventure, we will head to Barcelona, then we are going to park up in a massive campsite about 75kms South of Barcelona, 20kms North of Tarragona, for at least 10 days. Time to revive our bodies and minds, some sun tanning, swimming and well just sitting around reading books, playing bocce and enjoying some free time! Now that’s the kind of “one summer” we had in mind! From there we can day trip back to Barcelona and down to Tarragona if we so desire. Then we head to Madrid, up to San Sebastian and off to Pamplona for Running of the Bulls! Adios Amigos!



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Man and dogMan and dog
Man and dog

See the dog enjoying the sun to the fullest on his back heheh


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